Starting point for Amazon trips
From Lima we flew early in the morning to Iquitos, the flight took about 1:45 hrs and it was a pleasant flight. At the airport we were picked up by the hotel taxi, it was already within the room price.
Iquitos is the capital of the biggest region in Peru, Loreto. This region is mostly jungle and Amazon area. This city reminds us a bit like some cities in Indonesia, some houses are from the colonial era and there are plenty of the so called motor taxis or Tuk Tuks everywhere in the city, quite busy streets here. In this capital city more than 30 different ethnical tribes from the Amazon region live here, it´s a melting pot of the different cultures. For us Iquitos was the starting point for our 5 days stay at the Amazon area in Libertad, a village which is south of Iquitos.
We walked a bit through the city of Iquitos, visited the local market in Belen, had a couple of drinks at the swimming restaurant on the Amazon River and made a stopover at the manatee rescue centre.
The market in Belen is the biggest in the city, they offer almost everything which the locals need. Everything what can be eaten and is not poisonous from the jungle can be found here…unfortunately also endangered species. I saved myself to put pictures of cut monkeys, turtles and other exotic species into our homepage, it´s not really appetising for the most of us. This market is also a black market, we saved ourselves to visit that part…it´s also not very safe for tourists to visit that area. Apart from that you can find plenty of exotic fruits, vegetables and natural medicines from the jungle.
The swimming restaurant with the swimming pool is quite nice to visit, you are in the middle of the Amazon River and can enjoy nice meals and cold drinks. Unfortunately after about 30 minutes when we arrived there it started to rain, so we didn´t stay too long there.
The private rescue centre for the Amazon manatee was very nice to see. A lot of the local villages around the Amazon River still catch the manatee and eat them, usually the adult one. If they catch a mother manatee with a baby, the try to keep the baby as a pet, mostly they do not get milk and become underfed. Most of the babies were then brought to the rescue centre. They stay at the rescue centre until they eat water plants instead of milk and will be released in a protective reserve. This centre also organise awareness trainings for the local villages and the schools. But not only manatees can be found here at the rescue centre, also other animals which were engrossed by the police from smuggler or were initiated by cars were brought here.
In the evening on the same day when we arrived, our tour guide visited us at the hotel to discuss some organisational stuff before we started our 5 days journey on the following day to the jungle village Libertad, south of Iquitos. We will keep you updated, please be patience ;-)